“New Car Smell” as a defense

Got this hot off the interwebs regarding the hit and run incident which occurred on July 3 of this year, and has since gained a lot of attention across the country.  

“New car smell may have contributed to the driver losing consciousness in a hit and run accident.”….”Erzinger’s attorneys say their client suffers from sleep apnea and fell asleep at the wheel before driving off U.S. Highway 6 and onto the shoulder near Miller Ranch Road, hitting Milo from behind” … “Harmful and noxious gases emitted from the upholstery can infiltrate the driver’s compartment and potentially alter the driver,” Koziol wrote … “Defense experts say sleepy people don’t know they’re sleepy, and that’s why Erzinger is more likely than some to fall asleep at the wheel, Tegtmeier says.”

Those are just pieces of the article written, please read the entire article to get a better idea regarding these new developments in this case.  Having minimal understanding of this country’s fine legal system, I don’t have a clue whether this defense could actually work, but I’m willing to bet more convoluted things have been tried, and I’m sure some have been successful.  My two cents is that this new defense is bullshit, feel free to share your thoughts.

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About 40 Hands

A fan of riding bikes with one gear, malt liquor, riding without knowing how many miles I’ve covered, and strip clubs that let you bring your own keg. I typically have a stupid grin on my face, it is because deep down I know that no matter what, my mom thinks I’m cool. Denver, Colorado, USA

21 thoughts on ““New Car Smell” as a defense

  1. I’m gonna go eat a Twinkie in a new car while my cat drives and runs a biker over.

    Guaranteed acquittal.

  2. …with all these theories, sleep apnea, ‘new car smell’, blah, blah, blah, i’m almost surprised they haven’t found a reason to blame dr milo in some way…

    …counselor gianni…is there not a legal responsibility that goes with having been diagnosed with something like ‘sleep apnea’ ???…it’s considered to be a medical condition, the results of which, although undoubtedly somewhat variable, can be documented as always leading to the same conclusion – the subject invariably ends up unconscious & thus has a responsibility to be aware of that fact…

    …i guess that’s whats nice about having money…there will always be someone there to wipe your ass & change your diaper because no matter how big of an irresponsible douche bag you are, they can make money off you…

  3. douchebag defense lawyer is hoping for a jury trail, he only needs one or two TOTAL FUCKING MORONS to hang the jury.

  4. For what it’s worth, I had sleep apnea, and actually got in a car accident as a result, prior to the diagnosis. That said, the accident I had was a result of nodding off at a particularly inopportune time -right as traffic halted rather suddenly and unexpectedly. I never let myself drive ‘sleepy’ after that, and a few months later, discovered that apnea was the culprit.

    Even when I would nod off, it was never for very long (think maximum of two seconds) and it would never happen on the freeway, because I would employ a pretty ridiculous series of actions to keep myself awake and alert -mostly stuff you used to see in drowsy driving PSAs, before the government wised up and started treating it like drunk driving.

    Erzinger can still rot, because I don’t buy his explanation of the incident this late in the game, and I don’t see him doing everything he can, financially or otherwise, to make amends to Dr. Milo. I just wanted to say that apnea itself may be a legitimate defense in very certain cases, but I don’t think it is here.

  5. I’d like to put this shitstain to sleep permanently.

    Then he can enjoy the smell of his dermis burning continuously in hell.

  6. Could actually have some validity. We purchased a brand new Subaru and when it sat in the sun w/ the windows up it would develope some very strong fumes. Enough to make your eyes water and give you a killer head ache. I don’t know if it could actually knock you out though…

  7. by the way, “new car smell” is merely the polybutadiene oligamer (plasticizer) package off-gassing, mainly from the carpet. I’ve been told that the auto manufacturers use plenty of extra plasticizer because the customers LIKE the smell.

  8. “holla, amigos…alberto contador here & i just wanna suggest that on the res’ day in ‘le tour’, after a beeg grande lunch with lottsa carne from espana, i wen’ for a leetle drive in my frien’s bran’ new car with a lotta fumes, si ???…yust sayin’…”

  9. This is about intent. Generally, the state must establish intent. While, inversely, the defendant may have to prove it’s absence.

    Scroll down to “intent” for more: http://www.theharperlawfirm.com/criminal.php

    I don’t know (and have not been able to determine) much about the two misdemeanor charges in this matter. I assume that one, or both, of them involves a showing of intent. Otherwise, why bother with the “my client has an illness/condition” and therefore he had no idea what was happening argument?

    It could also be that one, or both, of the misdemeanor charges involves either carelessness or recklessness.

    More info: http://www.mycoloradodefenselawyer.com/criminal-charges/reckless-careless-driving/

    42-4-1402. Careless Driving: http://www.fortlewis.edu/…carelessdriving.aspx

    Also, go here: http://www.michie.com/colorado/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&cp=

    You will have to crawl through some drop-downs to get to it. Title 42 of the Colorado Revised Statues is vehicles and traffic. It’s all under there.

    Did he know of his sleep apnea? Was he actually diagnosed with this condition? As part of this diagnosis, did his physician caution against the operation of heavy machinery? Specifically, operating a motor vehicle?

    In both reckless and careless driving statutes the essence of the mental element is disregard of safety in driving. In both it is the absence of care which renders the driving criminal. People v. Chapman, 192 Colo. 322, 557 P.2d 1211 (1977).

    You can see where this is going. If he proves he was diagnoses (actually has said condition), doesn’t it just show he was either reckless or careless in driving?

  10. I can see some knucklehead juror confusing Sleep Apnea [which is treatable and when diagnosed as Brian's was, managable] with Nacrolepsy which is involuntary – as far as I know – and throwing his hands up saying “He couldn’t help it => not guilty”

  11. …while it would seem that erzinger’s intent was not hurt or kill someone, the fact that he owned a self driven vehicle (as opposed to chauffeured) whilst suffering from sleep apnea shows (in my mind) an intent to disregard safe vehicle practices especially in light of the fact that his job could afford him the practicality of a ‘car service’ or a taxi…

    …utilizing such service can’t be considered a luxury when one suffers from a condition that can leave one unconscious in obviously dangerous situations…

    …erzinger also suffers from a condition known as ‘anal – cranial inversion’ & having high priced lawyers to empower him by legally justifying his actions, ensures that his head will forever remain firmly implanted up his ass…

  12. Sleep apnea is a BS defense! Sleep apnea doesn’t cause a person to fall asleep, even when coupled with a smell. This whole defense stinks of guilt, and is starting to sound like Tyler or Floyd defending themselves.
    The asshole’s attorney is just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. It’s all in an effort to create doubt.
    I’m telling you, I can call some ‘friends’ that live in South Philly and have the shit handled by Saturday!

  13. Just another in a long string of “I’m important and have tons of money so this couldn’t possibly be my fault even in the slightest” excuses.

  14. martin erzinger, remember that name; remember that he left another person bleeding on the side of the road!

    martin erzinger everybody, wealth manager!

  15. holy bourgeois bullshit.
    “my new benz was so new that it bored me to sleep”

    im wondering if he was/ is /will be this DA’s wealth manager? i wont go back to Vail until they elect a new DA for eagle county